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INTERESTING STUFF – 31 October 2015


TGB reader Nana Royer sent this video of a 101-year-old Brookline, Massachusetts candy store owner who has been opening her shop “just about every morning” since before I was born in 1941.


And I have several holiday items that I've been saving since last year. My friend JoAnn Goldberg sent these cute kids.



Here's another I discovered too late for Halloween last year. As Drew Christie writes in the story accompanying the video, this is a real report from 1725,

” which an Austrian official named Imperial Provisor Frombald details an early written account of vampirism in Eastern Europe. The fear in the account was palpable...Sure Count Dracula is scary, but this stuff was downright terrifying.”

You can read more at The New York Times.


Watch the 27 seconds of how cleverly this is shot.


In the lead-up to Halloween a few days ago, NPR broadcast a story about why old women are so often the face of evil in folklore. There is an overview of some of the scariest old crones I've never heard of before but the conclusion to the story is this:

”In other words, old women in fairy tales and folklore practically keep civilization together. They judge, reward, harm and heal; and they're often the most intriguing characters in the story. “

At the end of the piece, NPR encouraged people to use Twitter to talk about older women in society who are amazing or inspiring using the hashtag, #GrownLadyCrush.

I didn't know about any of this until an alert about a tweet from my friend Erin Read of Creating Results (whom I often quote here) turned up in my email inbox: with this tweet:


Ha! Thank you, Erin. I'll take “ferocious and funny” as a compliment any day.

Meanwhile, you can read (or listen to) the frightening full story about evil old women in folklore at the NPR website.


Undoubtedly you recall the famous photograph from 1972 of the nine-year-old girl burned by napalm running down the road in Vietnam. It became a symbol of everything that had gone wrong with that war.

Kim Phuc was later granted asylum in Ontario, Canada and earlier this week, she traveled to Miami, Florida for treatment of the painful scars from those burns.

You can read more at Huffington Post.


Until I saw this video, I had never heard of keyhole gardening but I am obviously behind the times on this – there are tens of thousands of search returns on Google.

According to Deb Tolman, the apparent godmother of the keyhole technique, it makes gardening easier – good for us old folks; no bending over – and produces an excellent medium for growing healthy vegetables.

Where I live these days, there is no gardening allowed but maybe some of you will find this useful. Watching it, I was sorry I can't take up gardening again.


Surely you've made a butt call or two – when you unintentionally push the send button on your cell phone. Now we have butt music. Classical butt music, even. 500 year old butt music. Thank reader Tom Delmore for this.

This is, of course, the famous tryptych painted by Heironymous Bosch in 1503 or so: the Garden of Earthly Delights:


As reported earlier this year, there are musical notes painted on the butt of a figure in Bosch's masterwork discovered by Amelia who is a music and information systems student at Oklahoma Christian University.

”Late one night, Amelia and her friend Luke were examining The Garden of Earthly Delights... when they discovered something amazing: ' written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting which is intended to represent Hell.'”


Now, again thanks to Amelia, you can hear a piano versions of what the music sounds like:

You can read Amelia's original post here where she links to a choral arrangement of the butt music – gorgeous.


Oh, god, here we go again. In the U.S., it's time to move the clocks BACK ONE HOUR tonight.

Just in time for this semi-annual ritual, Alan G sent this hilarious video, a pretend-trailer for a fake movie titled, Daylight Saving. Enjoy.


I found this a week or two ago at Naked Capitalism. It's here today for no reason except that I think it is beautiful, and it seems to me that animals in their natural habitats are the best antidote to everything that is wrong in the world.


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Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

Unexpected Passions

From time to time through the years of this blog, readers have written to tell me that although their job, the way they made their living, had never been much to write home about, they had another life.

They came alive, they said, when the day was done and there was time for their passion, the thing that defined - and may still - who they are.

It is my experience that the most interesting people are those who have a passion and now, a filmmaker who apparently agrees with me, is bringing that idea to the screen.

Kevin Gordon is an experienced documentary producer/director. His feature-length doc, True Son, an official selection of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, was well reviewed in Newsweek.

Gordon's latest project is a web series titled “Shine On” about people with typical day jobs but an unexpected passion outside of work that they live for.

”By day they are your co-workers and servers,” writes Gordon on his Kickstarter page. “By night they are rockstars in their own domain. A 76-year-old farmer who tears it up at the local speedway. A piercer in a tattoo parlor who rocks the Roller Derby circuit. A nursing assistant who dominates at underground hip hop dance battles.

“Their goal is not to 'make it' but simply to have a few moments in a week where they can leave their other lives behind, bring time to a standstill, and do what they love.”

Those first three documentaries Gordon mentions, are still in production but we have today a three-minute trailer titled A Need for Speed about the dirt track race driver, Ken Micheli, who is 76 years old. Take a look:

If you are as eager for the series as I am and can help support the effort, Gordon's Kickstarter campaign is open for two more weeks where you will find another short trailer, this one about the roller derby skater.

What I particularly like about these stories is that they inspire us to follow our bliss without being icky sweet.

What about you? Do you have a passion that would surprise us? Was it your job or after-work life that animated you? How did that change when you retired?

A Contradiction of Old Age

It makes me happy when I come across other people writing about the serious effects of ageist language. The latest I've seen is from a trio of academics who work in the field of ageing:

”Recent articles in a variety of publications provide an illustration about the language of ageism and aging,” they wrote recently in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“They use language that describes aging as 'a catastrophic condition,' an 'ailment' or 'a social problem.' Aging is neither a catastrophe nor a malady. Yet the words we use to describe aging certainly seem to tell a different story.

“The language of ageism is entrenched in our daily vocabulary and is so commonplace that it is practically invisible.”

The three go on to list some of the conditions that are mistakenly conflated with ageing:

”...all adults are living longer. Adults with chronic health conditions, including HIV, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, are living longer. But let’s please not confuse the side effects of these diseases and long-term use of medications as anything akin to the normal aging process.

“Normal aging does not create frailty in our aging population; frailty is an actual medical condition.”

For many years, I've been saying these same things along with others the three writers cite but it's terrific to see it gaining a wider audience beyond my blog online and in print.

That said, however (that ageing is not a disease in and of itself and should not be spoken of in that manner), there is no denying that if we live long enough, even disease-free, there will be decline we must each accommodate.

So just to confuse you, I'm going to discuss an article by a woman who has since 2001, lived with a debilitating illness, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). I know there is a great deal of controversy about it, that some people deny CFS is real, and for that reason, Toni Bernhard usually doesn't name it:

”One reason is the absurd name,” she wrote in 2011. “As others have pointed out, calling it, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is like calling Emphysema, Chronic Cough Syndrome, or Alzheimer’s, Chronic Forgetfulness Syndrome.”

I don't have an opinion about CFS but according to various publications, due to the debility it has caused her, Ms. Bernhard was forced to give up her 22-year-career as a law professor and has never been able to return.

She has, however, managed to write some books the first, in 2010, being, How to be Sick – A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers. I haven't read it nor her two subsequent books and probably will not.

But on the same day I came across the ageist language news story, I also found an article she wrote in the tenth year of her illness.

It is titled 10 Tips From 10 Years Sick and although it is about being chronically ill at any age, it struck me that the insights she has gained are just as useful for any healthy elder dealing with the normal changes that can accompany the final third of life. Here is a sampling:

1. Take time to grieve your old life and then create a new one. “I was in such denial that I forced myself to return to work while sick. When my body finally broke down and I had to trade the classroom for the bedroom, I was angry for months.

“Then I was paralyzed with sadness over the loss of my identity...if someone had told me I’d write a book from the bed, I would have said, Not possible. But I did."

Old people can do this too. When an activity becomes too difficult or impossible to do, we can redirect our attention to try something else. Can't run anymore? How about a bicycle or a walk. Can't drive at night anymore? Find more to do in the daytime, as I did. And so on.

5. Find beauty in small things. “I’ve learned to do with seeing beauty in the small happenings in my bedroom: a spider, dropping from the ceiling on a silken thread, only to stop a foot above the bed; a fly, dashing around the bedroom like some crazy freeway driver.

“When I wrote about this in Issa: My Life Through the Pen of a Haiku Master a reader commented, saying she’s had to trade a life of activity for one of stillness, but when she uses that stillness to observe her small world closely, 'it almost seems like an even trade.'”

Appreciation of small things doesn't arrive only in the stillness and confinement Bernhard speaks of. It happens as easily to those of us lucky enough to be healthy and mobile – just old. I've heard it so often from so many that I wonder if it is an attribute that comes with growing old.

9. We’re fortunate to live in the Internet Age. “I can’t imagine how much more difficult this illness would be if I couldn’t connect with others on the web who are similarly sick. Through blogs and Facebook and my website, I’ve met people from all over the world.

“When I think of how isolated people were who were sick just a few decades ago, I feel fortunate to be sick in the Internet Age.”

Any of you who have been hanging around this blog for awhile know that I could have written that last item word for word.

In my case, it's about how fortunate the internet is for old people who may be perfectly healthy but lose the camaraderie of the workplace when we retire, who may move away from old friends and neighbors (or vice versa) and whose social circles continue to shrink when friends and relatives die.

There are now many people important to me I would never have known except through this blog and other places online, and about half the people I treasure most I've met via the internet.

It might seem to be a contradiction for me to insist that old age is not a disease and then recommend ways to deal with the limitations that can come with it. It's not and slowing down can be seen as a good thing, if you want, after several decades of a whole lot of go, go, go.

(Tony Bernhard's full list of 10 is here. Her website is here.)

What Really Matters at the End of Life

Many years ago - even decades - when I was still quite young, I knew how I want to die. It hasn't changed and it isn't unique: I want to be conscious, clear-headed and pain-free so that I can concentrate, pay attention to the experience. We only get one go at death and I want to be aware of it.

Of course, there is no guarantee it will work out that way but there is a better chance than in the recent past. Many doctors are more honest than in our parents' and grandparents' day about prognoses, for example, and there are documents we can sign nowadays that direct how much medical and drug intervention we want at the end.

That is a help but all kinds of things can go wrong, or differently from what is anticipated in the documents, starting with an uncooperative body or mind.

Recently, I've been learning more about palliative care which is usually chosen at end of life but not always. There are uses for patients at other stages of life too. And, I had no idea until now that palliative care is a medical specialty.

As I was working my way through a variety of resources I arrived at an excellent, informative and fascinating TEDtalk from March 2015. The speaker is BJ Miller, a palliative care physician who works at the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.

As young as he is (well, as young he appears to me at my age 74), he is wise and thoughtful and filled with insight about healthcare which, he says, should “make life more wonderful than [just] less horrible” as it too often does, especially in hospitals.

It's hard to know if it is due to the traumatic injury he suffered while in college or if Dr. Miller was born an old soul but there are few others I know of who are as inspiring and comforting about death and dying – and living - as this man. (The video is about 20 minutes long.)

ELDER MUSIC: Playing with Mr B

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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BILLY ECKSTINE first came to public attention when he joined the Earl Hines band as a singer and trumpet player. He stayed with him for a while and then went out and formed his own group.

He hired the cream of the crop and everyone featured today began their professional career playing in Billy's band. They all went on to change the face of jazz and are some of the most important musicians in the development of the art.

I'll start today with a song from the EARL HINES Band with Billy's unmistakable voice singing Stormy Monday Blues, a different song from the one that T-Bone Walker wrote and performed.

Earl Hines

♫ Earl Hines - Stormy Monday Blues

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, is a big fan of Billy Eckstine, so I'll play another song of his, just for her.

Billy Eckstine

This is definitely from his big band period. It's called Mr. B's Blues.

♫ Billy Eckstine - Mr. B's Blues

Right, to Billy's band. First up we have DIZZY GILLESPIE. Diz said in his autobiography,

"There was no band that sounded like Billy Eckstine's. Our attack was strong, and we were playing bebop, the modern style. No other band like this one existed in the world."

With the talent he had, I'm not surprised.

Diz plays the tune Leap Frog with the assistance of his long time playing partner, who also came from Billy's band, Charlie Parker.

Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker

♫ Dizzy Gillespie - Leap Frog

DEXTER GORDON was actually in a couple of other bands before he joined Billy's.

Dexter Gordon

However, it was while he was there that he was instrumental in the development of bebop (along with the others, of course). He had a big influence on the playing of John Coltrane. Here Dex performs Clear the Dex.

♫ Dexter Gordon - Clear the Dex

SARAH VAUGHAN won a singing contest at the Zeus Theater in Harlem; the prize was a week's gig at the famous Apollo.

Sarah Vaughan

After a bit of shilly shallying and messing around, she managed to get her gig. While she was there, and here things get a bit confused, she was spotted by either Earl Hines or Billy Eckstine – accounts differ. Whoever saw her, she was signed up to Earl's band.

When Billy left, she went with him. Here from later in her career with Clifford Brown, Sarah sings, You're Not the Kind.

♫ Sarah Vaughan - You're Not The Kind

The great players kept coming along and now one of the greatest of them all, MILES DAVIS.

Miles Davis

Miles' stay in the band was brief. He was just 18 when the group visited East St Louis where Miles still lived with his parents. One of the trumpet players was ill (not Diz) and word around town was that Miles could fill in.

He was impressed with the playing of Diz and Bird and that solidified his plans to play jazz for a living (rather than the classical music his parents wanted). Miles plays Ah-Leu-Cha, with some help from Coltrane who is present on this tune.

♫ Miles Davis - Ah-Leu-Cha

As mentioned above, we also have the great CHARLIE PARKER.

Charlie Parker

Every saxophone player who came after him has been influenced by his playing. Much has been said and written about Bird and I really can't add anything useful. Let's just hear him in a rather unusual mode playing with the Erroll Garner Trio, with vocalist Earl Coleman, and Dark Shadows.

♫ Charlie Parker - Dark Shadows

ART BLAKEY was the drummer of choice for many jazz musicians.

Art Blakey

Diz, Bird, Monk, Miles, Bud all used him at times. Besides that, his group The Jazz Messengers was a breeding ground for the next generation of great players, a column for another day. Art plays Little Hughie.

♫ Art Blakey - Little Hughie

I had a song penciled in here and the A.M. suggested that a duet by Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan would be appropriate. Even if it isn't appropriate, she'd like it nonetheless.

Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan

So, the song we have, and we had a reasonable number from which to choose, is Passing Strangers. It was a unanimous choice from both of us.

♫ Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan - Passing Strangers

Going right back to the beginning with Earl Hines and what sounds to me like a pedal steel guitar playing along there, not something you normally associated with this style of music. Here is a song Billy wrote and recorded with Earl, Jelly Jelly.

Earl Hines

♫ Earl Hines - Jelly Jelly

INTERESTING STUFF – 24 October 2015


With a dozen other journalists, back in 2009, I attended an intensive week of study about ageing in New York City called the Age Boom Academy.

It was founded by geriatrician Robert N. Butler and held at his International Longevity Center. Since his death in 2010, the Academy has been held each year at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Now that organiation has produced a video series called Exceeding Expectations: One year. One year. 20 lives. Take a look at the preview:

Every Monday, a new story is released at the Exceeding Expectations website. Here's a bit more about the project that

”...through writing, photography and video, explores how people find purpose in later life and how their environment and circumstances make it easier or more challenging to do so. Their stories are filled with mystery, drama, wisdom and search for meaning.”

Several stories have already been released and you will find links to them at the Exceeding Expectations website. You can sign up on the same page to be notified by email as each new story is released.


A couple of weeks ago, I told you about how the state of Alabama had closed a large number of drivers licenses offices mostly in towns and areas where the population is largely composed of minorities.

This is important because Alabama has a new law that now requires an officially issued photo ID in order to vote.

The backlash online from television comedians and some others has been loud and sustained. Now, Alabama has back-pedaled. Sort of:

”Alabama will restore services in rural driver’s license offices for at least one day a month, backing off an earlier decision to close them altogether for budgetary reasons after the action caused a backlash, state officials told Reuters on Monday,” reports Raw Story.

Well, it's something, I guess but certainly not good enough. Read more here.


Going back to at least 2006, The American Council For an Energy Efficient Economy has released an annual ranking of U.S. states in terms of energy efficiency.


For what it's worth, both my current state, Oregon, and my previous state, New York, are in the top 10.

You can find out about your state and a lot more information that is behind the ranking for each state, along with which ones lost ground and which ones gained at the website.


On the eve of the Canadian election last Sunday, John Oliver, on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, which is broadcast at 11:30PM, used most of his allotted time to skewer the leaders of the three political parties telling those who were watching live

” will have waited – literally by the way - until the last moment to learn the first thing about the Canadian election. An election, by the way, of historic proportions.”

If you followed the news early this week, you know that Justin Trudeau – yes, THAT Trudeau family - who is head of the Liberal Party, won the election by what The New York Times called, “a stunning rout.”

So here is “the first thing” from John Oliver about that election and I promise it is the opposite of how boring comedians try to make Canada appear to be:


...for using fake founding father quotations:

In case you missed it in the video, the Definitely Real Quotes website is here.


Not much gets my grammar hackles going more than the misuse of less for fewer. In fact, it is so bad that I cannot recall the last time I even saw or heard the word fewer when it should have been there. Writers everywhere don't even know the word fewer exists anymore, let alone what the difference is in relation to less.

To save me from having to rant about it, here's The New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris, the online “comma queen,” on the subject of less and fewer.


Apparently he realizes it might be fun to play with but can't quite figure out how.


In recent months at their online Consumer Information section, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been releasing fraud and scam information more regularly than in the past.

You have probably heard about the new kind of credit cards with chips in them that are better at reducing fraud including counterfeiting. However, millions of us have not yet received replacements and guess what? There are people trying to scam us with that information.

”Here's what’s happening,” writes the FTC: “Scammers are emailing people, posing as their card issuer. The scammers claim that in order to issue a new chip card, you need to update your account by confirming some personal information or clicking on a link to continue the process.”

If you do that, your information can be used to steal your identity and/or malware can be installed on your computer.

There is no reason your credit card company needs to confirm the information they have about you. Read the rest of the FTC's information on what to do if you are contacted in this manner.

You can sign up on the same page for regular email updates about scams and fraud.


This has been lying around on my Interesting Stuff list over most of the summer waiting for a place to be included on Saturday. As Huffington Post explained:

Koda, a kitten...befriended [a five-year-old] golden retriever named Keelo. This time-lapse video shows the pair’s friendship blossoming through Koda’s first eight months of life.”

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

MENTAL DOODLES: Memory, The Line and Mystery

EDITORIAL NOTE: Since sometime in 2003 when I first began thinking about creating this blog, I have kept a notebook, a journals if you will or maybe it is what used to be called a commonplace book - now a collection of many.

These are where I make notes and lists, write down thoughts and notions and questions, paste clippings, copy quotations and ruminate on ageing in general, for myself and for possible blog posts.

It is a way of not losing what often are no more than little wisps of ideas to think about later. Eventually, you get to read some of this stuff but there is much, much more that never gets beyond my initial jottings.

For several months I've been thinking that some of this material might be worthy of your consideration but sometimes ideas don't become real until they have a name.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, “Mental Doodles” popped into my mind. I like it. And so, now and then I'll write a Mental Doodles column wherein I drop two or three scribbles from my commonplace book on you and you can make of them what you will.

Here goes. See what you think.

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UNRELIABLE MEMORY: Most old people complain about unreliable memories although it's generally not important stuff we forget, just misplaced keys or something similar. Irritating, for sure, but now I have identified an advantage.

I can rewatch television shows and movies and enjoy them as much as the first time because I can't remember whodunit. This happens most frequently with favorite TV shows such as (recently) The Good Wife and NCIS. Sometimes I don't notice until halfway through the show that I'm watching a repeat.

Just so you know, this is not the same thing as watching favorite old movies and knowing not only what happens next but exactly what the dialogue is - The Third Man in my case. That is a different kind of pleasure.

CROSSING “THE LINE”: You never know when it's going to happen to you and no one can put a date on it for you because we grow old in appearance (and other ways too) at different rates.

But the day arrives for each of us - unpredicted, unplanned but inevitably - when you step across an invisible line and from that moment forward, anyone can take away your adult privileges.

They will fire you from your job or not hire you. Because you are now old. They will assume you can't hear well just because your face is wrinkled and shout at you. They will say demeaning things to you like, “And how are we today, young lady?” Because you are old.

Politicians will regularly try to take away the benefits you have earned. Because you are old. And so much more you won't like. Because you stepped across that invisible line and now you are old.

THE MYSTERY OF OLD AGE: Being healthy. Only minor afflictions, mostly ignorable. What will go wrong? How bad will it be? Will I be able to handle it? What am I supposed to do to prepare?

Maybe nothing goes wrong and I just quietly die one day. Since there is no way to know, does that mean I'm wasting my time wondering about these things?

Old Fashioned Slang, Words and Phrases

EDITORIAL NOTE: Serendipity is a delightful word and, of course, it is an equally delightful occurrence.

After I had finished writing today's post about one kind of language, I heard from Kirsten Jacobs, a young woman who is the education manager at LeadingAge in Portland, Oregon, a highly respected association of more than 6,000 not-for-profit, member organizations in the United States that provide care and services for elders.

I told you about her back in August after she and I, over a period of a couple of hours at a local French bakery, had a terrific conversation about another kind of language, that of old age.

This week, Kirsten's interview with me, titled
Language Can Change Our World, has been published at the LeadingAge website where you can read it - and I hope you will.

* * *

If you don't count appearance, hardly anything dates people like the slang words and other phrases they use from their youth, and it goes without saying that the purpose of slang (when it's new, anyway) is exclusionary – to keep the uninitiated out of the “in crowd.”

The thing about slang (not to be confused with jargon and colloquialisms) is that it usually begins among young people and by the time people of my age hear it, it's already out of date.


Even that recent word cloud I found somewhere on the internet is at least partially out of date. It is missing on fleek (meaning: very good) which itself is old now that it's popular in certain quarters on television.

It is also missing cray, stated as cray cray by some or spelled kray, which means crazy.

Sometimes “new” slang is old slang. The recent lit means exactly what it meant 60 years ago when I was in high school: intoxicated, drunk or stoned. And I recall throwing shade (meaning: insulting someone) from when I lived in San Francisco in the early 1960s.

It's hard to know with new slang what will have sticking power with the general population through the years, and later generations can be as confused by their parents' and grandparents' slang as elders are of theirs.

This all came to mind a few of days ago when Darlene Costner sent me an email that is making the rounds. It is apparently from a column written by Richard Lederer who, I found upon checking around, is a lifelong teacher and most importantly, word lover with a wonderful sense of humor.

Here are some excerpts from the email about old-time language.

(NOTE: I've not used quotation marks because the email arrived in the usual messy way of messages that have been forwarded frequently through too many formats so it's hard to know what is the original. Be assured, however, that having now read other language works by Lederer, I feel assured this is primarily his work.)

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included don’t touch that dial, carbon copy, you sound like a broken record and hung out to dry.

Some other old-fashioned phrases:

Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time, he writes.

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap and before we can say, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! or This is a fine kettle of fish!, we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Lederer goes beyond slang in this piece with a list of items that might sound like something from a foreign language to young people. Jalopie, for example. Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinder’s monkey.

He also identifies some wonderful old phrases, not slang, many of which you might still use and if not, certainly recognize:

Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It’s your nickel. Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks!

For people who love to have fun with language, Richard Lederer is a great find. He is a public speaker on subjects ranging from language to The Gift of Age. He has written a bunch of books about language and some other subjects.

His weekly language column is published in the The San Diego Union-Tribune with a link from his Facebook page.

Verbivore is his website where you can find dozens of past columns, dates for his public speaking engagements, book information and more.

Undoubtedly, you are reminded of other out-of-date slang, words and phrases not mentioned today. Let us know in the comments.

See ‘ya later, alligator!

Will Congress Raise the Debt Ceiling before Social Security Payments are Affected?

EDITORIAL NOTE: Today's post is so U.S.-centric that non-American readers in other countries should feel free to take the day off.

* * *

Congress has done no governing since their last election in 2014 – none – but as soon as they are moved by outside forces to finally act, they try to decrease what they call “entitlements,” Social Security and Medicare.

Before I go any further let us be clear about one thing: the word entitlement relates to the idea of a person being inherently deserving of special privilege or treatment. And that has no relationship to Social Security and Medicare.

Elders paid for these benefits throughout the decades of our working years, and we continue to pay for our portion of Medicare with Part B, Part C and/or Part D premiums, with co-pays and with deductibles.

When politicians (and others) refer to these programs as “entitlements,” it is to suggest that old people are being handed freebies and that belief allows them to feel “entitled” to take them away.

Don't ever let anyone get away with labeling Social Security, Medicare (not to mention Medicaid and some other federal programs) entitlements. They are earned benefits.


The reason the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to cut Social Security and Medicare right now is that the debt ceiling is approaching, the date on which the federal government's ability to borrow expires.

McConnell apparently figures cuts to these programs are easy pickings when the date of default by the federal government looms. That will happen, according to government and other sources sometime between November 1 and about November 10.

I'm sure you recall that we have been here before when Republicans in Congress refused to reauthorize borrowing and the government shut down for 16 days in October of 2013.

This time, according to CNN, in exchange for delivering the votes necessary to keep the federal government in business, McConnell wants an agreement to reduce future cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA) to Social Security and new restrictions on Medicare.

As the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) reported,

”You’ll also note there is no talk of reversing trillions of dollars in tax breaks and loopholes for large corporations shipping jobs overseas. No talk of the billions more in tax breaks given to the ultra-wealthy.

“Instead, Republican leaders want to cut the whopping $1,291 average monthly Social Security retirement benefit. A benefit Americans have paid for throughout their working lives.”

According to Roll Call, last Thursday Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew told Congress in a letter that the date of default will arrive a bit earlier than previously thought. On 3 November,

“...we expect Treasury would be left with less than $30 billion to meet all of the nation’s commitments — an amount far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion,” Lew wrote.”

Social Security benefits alone for November are about $42 billion. I won't get into the weeds about it but this almost veiled threat that Social Security (and other) payments might not be made in November isn't exactly fair.

They were paid in the 2013 shutdown and there are other means by which those payments can be made.

And anyway, according to Simon Maloy, a smart guy who writes at Salon, McConnell has no leverage to hold up a debt ceiling extension vote for what Maloy calls “pie-in -the-sky agenda items.”

"This is the second-worst bluff I’ve ever seen..." he writes. "Is

McConnell really going to try and force a debt limit showdown when the party is hopelessly fractured and the outgoing Speaker is more interested in clearing the decks for his replacement?”

Maloy thinks McConnell is taking on this exercise in futility as a

“...token demonstration to his own restive caucus members that he’s at least trying to put up a fight. At the end of the day, it’s in both Boehner’s and McConnell’s interests to raise the debt ceiling, and the easiest path – really the only path – for them is to pull in Democratic votes to sidestep the hardliners within their own ranks.

“That’s how past debt limit fights have ended, and that’s how this one is going to end.”

I tell you all this because over the next week or two, there will be a lot of speculating about Social Security benefit payments and other dire consequences that is unlikely to amount to much.


And Mitch McConnell pursues cuts to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for raising the debt limit?

Here's another potential safeguard: Last Friday, the House Rules Committee said it will take up a new bill, the Default Protection Act, and bring it to a vote by Wednesday. It

”...would allow the federal government to keep borrowing above the statutory debt limit for the sole purpose of paying principal and interest on debt held by the public or the Social Security Trust Fund,” reports the Washington Post.

“In other words: If Congress fails to raise the debt limit, holders of Treasury bonds would still be paid and Social Security recipients would still get their checks. That, advocates say, could help allay Wall Street anxiety as lawmakers approach the brink of default.”

This is a wonkier than usual TGB post but I've done it because more than one-third of Social Security recipients rely ONLY on Social Security for their retirement income. Many millions more rely on it for more than half their incomes.

If the reassurances I've related above come to nought in the next week or so, I'll be back here exhorting you to call your Congressional representatives.


Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

Don Gibson

Here is a column where you can cry in your beer (or cry in my pinot noir in my case). I present the writer and singer of the lonesome-est songs known to man- and woman-kind.

Don Gibson liked to think of himself as a songwriter who sang a bit rather than a singer who wrote songs. He was a particularly modest man who was very shy and didn't like performing. In spite of his reticence he really was a fine songwriter and terrific singer.

Don's father died when Don was just two and Don left school after second grade, something he regretted later that led to a lifetime of assiduous reading. Don acquired a guitar when he was 14 and taught himself by listening to guitarists on the radio and watching them perform and copied what they were doing.

He also made a bit of a living as a pool shark in his hometown.

Eventually he teamed up with a couple of others and formed a country band that had some local success. When the others left for a better playing gig, Don managed to get a regular spot on a local radio program.

He started writing songs around this time and a friend of his took some of them to a song publisher who was impressed And suggested that Don record some of them. Other singers also recorded his songs and he was on his way.

I'll start with the song that, when I mentioned to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, that I was doing DON GIBSON, she started singing immediately.

We were in the car heading for South Melbourne Market to do some huntin' n gatherin' at the time. It's amazing how much we remembered (all of it - we even sang the woh woh woh's). Fortunately, there was no one else in the car.

The song we performed is Sea Of Heartbreak. It goes without saying that Don did it better than we did, however, I was surprised to learn that it wasn't one he wrote. It was by Hal David (who normally collaborated with Burt Bacharach) and Paul Hampton.

Don Gibson

♫ Don Gibson - Sea Of Heartbreak

At the same time as (well, just after) Sea of Heartbreak (released only as a single), the record company released a song from an album of Don's.

Don Gibson

It was also a big hit and continued the theme of loneliness (as if I need to tell you that – you could tell from the title) called Lonesome Number One.

♫ Don Gibson - Lonesome Number One

Some years before the previous two songs, the first of his to make the charts was Sweet Dreams. It was recorded by PATSY CLINE who took it to the top of the charts.

Patsy Cline

I'll find any excuse to include Patsy in a column and her singing one of Don's songs takes some beating.

♫ Patsy Cline - Sweet Dreams

RAY CHARLES was innovative throughout his career.

Ray Charles

One such innovation was his recording an album of country music in 1962 called "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music" giving it the Ray treatment. It was so successful he recorded volume two later that same year.

He wasn't the first to do such a thing - Solomon Burke had done the same some years earlier but only with a few songs, not an entire album.

Coming from the other direction, a few country singers have recorded in a soulful vein. However, Ray showed them all what could be achieved. Of course, there were some of Don's songs in the mix, including almost certainly the best cover ever of one of his songs, I Can't Stop Loving You.

♫ Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Loving You

After Sea of Heartbreak, probably the best known of Don's recordings is Oh Lonesome Me.

Don Gibson

This was one of the first he recorded and it shot to number one on the country charts and made top ten in the pop charts. It helped that he had the great Chet Atkins producing the record. It had Don's version of I Can't Stop Loving You on the flip side. Great value.

♫ Don Gibson - Oh Lonesome Me

ROY ORBISON was so impressed with the quality of the songwriting, he recorded a whole album of Don's songs.

Roy Orbison

I think that if Roy is impressed with the songwriting, it must be good. One of the songs from the album is Too Soon to Know.

♫ Roy Orbison - Too Soon to Know

Another song Don recorded that he didn't write himself is I'm Crying Inside. The scribblers in this case were Charles and George McCormick.

Don Gibson

Rather surprisingly, this one didn't make the charts anywhere that I can discover. It continues in the same vein as the rest and has the added benefit of the distinctive sound of Floyd Cramer playing piano. I'm Crying Inside.

♫ Don Gibson - I'm Crying Inside

Two of the finest guitar pickers in history joined forces to record an album. They are MARK KNOPFLER and CHET ATKINS.

MarkKnopfler & ChetAtkins

Mark, of course, was the songwriter, singer and lead guitarist for Dire Straits. I really liked them when they were a simple quartet who produced excellent songs rather than the bombastic group they later became (which made them rich, so good on them).

He is teamed with Chet Atkins who besides being a great guitarist was also one of the best record producers who ever positioned a microphone. They play and sing (although I think that's only Mark singing) Just One Time.

♫ Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins - Just one time

As DJ Stan Rofe used to say on radio 3KZ back in the day here in Melbourne, "It was so nice, I'll play it twice." Well, not quite.

I will play CHET ATKINS performing the same tune but in this case, just as an instrumental. As they say, the fingers never leave the hands but in Chet's case I'm not so sure about that. Just One Time.

Chet Atkins

♫ Chet Atkins - Just One Time

I'll end with an early one from Don.

Don Gibson

This stayed on the country charts for more than six months. The song is Blue, Blue Day, one you'll probably know if you were listening to music in the fifties.

♫ Don Gibson - Blue, Blue Day

INTERESTING STUFF – 17 October 2015


With the commonplace time slippage in old age, it feels to me like yesterday or so that I first heard of Yo-Yo Ma in the early 1960s when he was a kid, a child prodigy.

Already now, he is 60 and he spoke on camera recently with the Washington Post about growing old:


Having had all I can tolerate lately of glass bridges high above canyons, it was good to watch how the expertise of building and maintaining a living bridge for hundreds of years is passed on to the next generation.

This is from the BBC television programme, The Human Planet.


In the two most recent editions of Interesting Stuff, I mentioned the terrible new restrictions the state of Alabama has placed on voting, removing 75 percent of motor vehicle deparments in areas where mostly people of color live.

No one has fixed that yet in Alabama but here is an antidote: California just made voter registration automatic when people are issued drivers licenses:

"The law...puts California at the forefront of efforts across the country to increase electoral participation at a time when many states have added new hurdles, like voter identification laws.

“The new law will 'help improve elections and expand voter rights and access in California,' the governor’s office said in a statement."

You can read more at The New York Times.


From Jonathan Pie in England. This is brilliant especially if, like me, you sometimes find yourself screaming at the establishment pap that passes for news reports on way too much of TV, newspapers and the internet.

(For any who are humor impaired, this video is the definition of great satire. Also NSFW)


You know, John Oliver needs a new headline writer. “North Dakota” isn't much of a grabber but he is, as always, in top form in this segment from his HBO program, Last Week Tonight.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will wonder – as I do – why we are hearing such important information from a British comedian and not the U.S. news media.


The fake gun commercial with SNL guest host Amy Schumer caused a lot of controversy last week. What do you think?


The current world population is about 7.3 billion, way more than the planet can support. Now, the United Nations has increased its estimate of the world population for the year 2050 to nearly 10 billion.


The reasoning is that people are living a lot longer and not nearly as many children are dying before reaching adulthood. This is good news for people; extremely bad news for the planet which is already overcrowded.




We already knew it but The Social Security Administration officially declared on Thursday that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment in benefits for 2016.

In making the announcement at the website, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Jim Borland wrote,

"This news isn’t necessarily bad. When inflation stays at the same rate, your cost of living also stays the same. Prices for goods and services, on average, haven’t increased enough to affect the COLA."

That's a disingenuous claim. Prices for the kinds of things elders spend most of their money on have increased - food, clothing and particularly healthcare. These increases are not offset, as they are for working-age people, by the decrease in gasoline prices since elders don't drive nearly as much or even at all.

Further, as congressional Republicans begin negotiations for raising the debt ceiling, the first thing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put on the table is a reduction in "entitlements" including a change to decrease future Social Security COLAs. (No surprise there.)

We can discuss these issues further next week.


From the terrifying (above) to the sublime.

From the Understanding Art series of Nerdwriter (aka Evan). This video about Edward Hopper's most famous painting is as beautifully produced as his explanations are fascinating.


He's about 9 weeks old in the video made last month. His name is Bilbo. Beware of cute overload.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

Preparing Your Final Blog or Facebook Post

It has been many years since I wrote on this topic but it came to mind a couple of weeks ago when I announced the new Elderbloggers List and spoke of the blogs that were either abandoned or had disappeared:

”Did they get bored and just stop?” I wrote. “Did they pick up their marbles and move to another address without telling readers? Have they fallen too ill to keep up? Have they died?

“In almost all cases there is no way to know, adding to the mysteries of life in general and the internet in particular. (I'll discuss this soon in a different post.)”

This is that post.

In the first go-round on this topic, 10 years ago, I wrote mostly about how nothing ever really disappears on the internet – if you know how to look - and leaving stories behind for children, grandchildren and beyond is a good thing to do.

I carried on a bit about documenting your life and urging your grandchildren to start doing that early. As it turns out, there was no need. In the intervening decade, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterist and dozens of other websites have been spawned where there is more than enough documentation of the lives of almost everyone on earth.

More importantly back then, however, I discussed a final blog post:

”I have left...a final blog to be posted. Yes, it begins with, 'If you’re reading this, I am dead,' though I intend to update it every six months or so and I may be able, in time, to get more creative than that.”

With the passage of time, I'm quite happy with that introduction – succinct and to the point. I also explained that I had left information on where to find that final blog post along with easy-to-use instructions on how to publish it.

The missing-in-action people on the Elderblogger List last month brought all this back to me. Although none of them were friends exactly, some were people I'd come to know at that internet distance and/or closeness we are all familiar with, and it is disconcerting to not know what happened to them.

Our online presences are much wider now than ten years ago. You might not have a blog but be active on Facebook. Perhaps, instead, you like Instagram or Pinterist or you have a lot of followers on Twitter. Maybe it's your habit to post comments at a particular website or two frequently enough to have made online friends there.

It is not morbid to consider how you want the people you know online to be informed when you die. It is a good thing to work out what you would like to say to the people in the web communities where you have lived some of your life when you have gone.

It has been too long since I updated my final blog post, something I'll do now that I'm talking about it here. It's important because although I'm 74 now and life expectancy hovers near 80 these days, that means a lot of people die younger. There are no guarantees and we can count only on today.

It has become commonplace in recent times for people to create their own memorial services. I've attended several for which the deceased chose the location, the music, the food, the order of the speakers and even wrote their obituaries sometimes.

Now I think the time has arrived to also arrange for the online announcement of our demise and leave instructions for someone you choose to follow through on your behalf.

You will be doing all of us still breathing a favor so that we know what happened, and you will be giving us the opportunity to mourn. It could easily be said that arranging this is now the polite thing to do.

If nothing else, it’s a chance to have the last word, and I’m not letting an opportunity like that pass me by.

The Language of Memory and Forgetting

With what I believe is the excessive amount of media attention given to Alzheimer's and other dementias, elders can be forgiven for being overly concerned about where they misplaced the house keys.

We console ourselves with such slogans as, “If you can't remember where your glasses are, that's normal; if you don't remember what they're for, you're in trouble.” Or by invoking the well-used “senior moment,” a phrase that hasn't been funny since the first time you heard it 20 years ago.

We oldies work hard at whistling past the graveyard in our fear of Alzheimer's but none of it removes one of the stigmas attached by people of all ages, by the culture at large, to elders: that our memories are unreliable and continue to decay until we either die or succumb to one of the dementias.

But it is just not true or, rather, not very much more true than for younger adults (just for fun, let's call them pre-elders).

How do I know that? One of the advantages of creating more time for quiet and solitude (see last week's post on that topic), is that actual thinking can go on at leisure and sometimes that produces a wholly new idea or conclusion. Such as this:

Have you ever noticed how many ways we have in the English language to blow off our poor memories? Without any effort, I came up with this obviously incomplete list of common, everyday phrases we've been using since childhood to account for our forgetfulness:

It slipped my mind
I must have overlooked that
If I remember correctly
Who knows? Not me
My mind went blank
Oh, I completely forgot
It's on the tip of my tongue
I must have mis-remembered that
If I'm not mistaken
That doesn't ring a bell
As far as I can recall
Remind me again about that...

When I look through those phrases that I have both said and heard from others a zillion times throughout all my life, I wonder how often forgetfulness is tested among people of all ages.

I haven't looked into it, but I'd lay down a few dollars on a bet that it's only old folks researchers bother to examine for memory lapses and they have no idea how frequently pre-elders forget things.

Pretty much all old people I know and many TGB readers who have commented here on memory issues in the past believe they are more forgetful than when they were younger. Is it possible, do you think, that we believe so only because we have spent a lifetime "knowing" old people are forgetful?

It goes without saying that dementia is a terrible disease but not for the majority of us and maybe elders' forgetfulness is, like that of younger people, mostly due to absentmindedness and too much multi-tasking.

Why else would there be so many ways to talk about forgetting?

Ageing in Place – Or Maybe Not

In every survey taken over many years, about 90 percent of old people say they want to age in place – that is, stay in the home where they are now and have lived for many years.

In addition, it is almost gospel among the leading authorities, organizations and other experts in the ageing community that when health allows, remaining in one's home in old age is the better choice. It has certainly been my mantra in these pages over many years and I generally believe it.

Although I live in a NORC (naturally occurring retirement community), that was a mistake. When I bought my condo, I didn't know the population here is about 85 percent old people and although I can't afford to move again, I have believed over these five years that given the choice, I would prefer living in a mixed-age neighborhood.

Now, a professor at the University of Florida, Stephen M. Golant, who is a gerontologist and social geographer comes along with with some interesting arguments for elders living in what he calls “age homogeneous residential enclaves.” He is speaking, he says, about

”the 93% of Americans age 65 and older who live in ordinary homes and apartments, and not in highly age-segregated long-term care options, such as assisted living properties, board and care, continuing care retirement communities or nursing homes.”

We old folks, Golant's 93 percent, don't move much but when we do, he says, we often avoid living near young people.

”The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 allows certain housing providers to discriminate against families with children. Consequently, significant numbers of older people can move to these 'age-qualified' places that purposely exclude younger residents...

“Others may opt to move to 'age-targeted' subdivisions (many gated) and high-rise condominiums that developers predominantly market to aging consumers who prefer adult neighbors. Close to 25% of age-55-and-older households in the US occupy these types of planned residential settings.

“Finally, another smaller group of relocating elders transition to low-rent senior apartment buildings made possible by various federally and state-funded housing programs. They move to seek relief from the intolerably high housing costs of their previous residences.”

Golant also tells us that only two percent of elder homeowners and 12 percent of elder renters move each year so we are not talking about a large migration. But I am reminded that when we here have discussed housing, the preponderance of opinion is that readers want to live in mixed age areas and not be “stuck” with all those old people, as they often put it.

Golant argues that because throughout our lives we congregate mostly with people in similar stages of life, there is no reason not to do so in old age. In fact, he says, old people are happier with their own age group:

”...studies show that when older people reside with others their age, they have more fulfilled and enjoyable lives. They do not feel stigmatized when they practice retirement-oriented lifestyles.

“Even the most introverted or socially inactive older adults feel less alone and isolated when surrounded with friendly, sympathetic, and helpful neighbors with shared lifestyles, experiences, and values – and yes, who offer them opportunities for intimacy and an active sex life.”

Golant also has an answer for those who believe everyone benefits from communities where old people function as caregivers and nurturers of youth while the young learn respect for their elders:

”In question,” he writes “is whether these enriched social outcomes merely represent idealized visions of our pasts.

“A less generous interpretation for why critics oppose these congregations of old is that they make the problems faced by an aging population more visible and thus harder to ignore.”

And one more thing. Golant points out that it is much easier for home healthcare workers, nurses and other aides to serve more people when they are not traveling over entire cities or wide rural areas to reach their clients. And

” much easier it is for a building management or homeowners’ association to justify the purchasing of a van to serve the transportation needs of their older residents or to establish an on-site clinic to address their health needs.

“Consider also the challenges confronted by older people seeking good information about where to get help and assistance.

“Even in our internet age, they still mostly rely on word of mouth communications from trusted individuals. It becomes more likely that these knowledgeable individuals will be living next to them.”

Although Galant supports the Villages Movement for many of the above reasons, he gets it wrong in missing the important intergenerational aspect but that is not anywhere near enough reason to dismiss his work on age-homogeneous living for elders and the suggestion that it can help prolong independent living.

He is not saying that we should all rush off to join a NORC or 55-plus community. What we should do - those who, like me, have slighted such living arrangements - is to recognize them as viable alternatives and welcome them onto the list of choices we have as we grow old.

Much of Golant's article on this is taken from his book, Aging in the Right Place that I would like to read but it's too pricey for my book budget right now.

Nevertheless, the online article at The Conversation, where you will find more detail, is persuasive and worth a read.


Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

I know that when I finished my second lot of "years" I said that if I should ever contemplate doing any more of them you should take me out and shoot me.

Fortunately, I modified that and suggested that you should ply me with fine pinot noir so that my fingers would be unable to type any of more of these.

Fortunately, nobody has shot me, but alas, no one has fed me fine pinot either.

You should never take what I say seriously as I'm going to do more of these "years" but they won't be like the previous ones; they'll be intermittent and published when we feel like it, or more to the point, when I write them.

Also they won't be in any order, just what I happen to have finished on the day, or what music takes my fancy. So, let's get started with a year that occurred before I was born so I know nothing about it. At least, not first-hand.

When I was growing up, one of the big hits of the time seemed to be called MoonglowandthethemefromPicnic, or that's how it sounded to me. Before the film Picnic was released, that tune was just called Moonglow. This has been recorded numerous times, but the one we're interested for this year was by BENNY GOODMAN.

Benny Goodman

Benny did a terrific job of it, few have bettered it. It has the unmistakable sound of Lionel Hampton on vibes as well as Teddy Wilson playing piano.

♫ Benny Goodman - Moonglow

There have been quite a few good versions of Miss Otis Regrets over the years. The one for 1934 is by JIMMIE LUNCEFORD.

Jimmie Lunceford

Jimmie was born in Mississippi but the family moved to Ohio when he was very young. They then moved to Denver where Jimmie went to school and he studied music under Paul Whiteman's father. He learned several instruments but concentrated on alto saxophone.

He later led his own band and it's in that guise we have today's song.

♫ Jimmie Lunceford - Miss Otis regrets

TED FIO RITO sounds as if he could have come from Hawaii and his song My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii would add credence to that.

Ted Fio Rito

However, Ted was born Theodore Salvatore Fiorito in New Jersey. So much for that theory. He spent much of his working life in Chicago. Here he is with his orchestra and the song. The vocal chorus is by Muzzy Marcellino.

♫ Ted Fio Rito & His Orchestra - My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii

My mum was a big fan of GRACE MOORE, so this is for my old mum.

Grace Moore

That's Grace in the picture, not mum. I remembered Elvis performing a song called One Night of Love (or a very similar titled song). This one is very different from that one (which was based on an even more risqué blues song). I'm sure Grace wouldn't have anything to do with that sort of thing.

♫ Grace Moore - One Night of Love

Someone who would have something to do with that sort of thing is LOUIS PRIMA.

Louis Prima

I first knew about Louis when he was teemed with Keely Smith, his wife at the time, but he was active (in all sorts of ways) before that, and after as well. This is from before, Jamaica Shout.

♫ Louis Prima - Jamaica Shout

Unlike a lot of his tunes, DUKE ELLINGTON didn't have a hand in writing Cocktails for Two. The tune is the work of Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow.

Duke Ellington

The song made its debut in a film called Murder at the Vanities. Duke's version was the first committed to vinyl (or shellac, or whatever it was back then).

♫ Duke Ellington - Cocktails for Two

Around this time it was hard to escape BING CROSBY so I won't try.

Bing Crosby

My dad was a big fan of Bing's so I have both parents represented here today. I could have chosen a dozen or more of Bing's songs for this year, it was just a matter of which appealed to me on the day. That one was Two Cigarettes in the Dark, a tale of woe.

♫ Bing Crosby - Two Cigarettes In the Dark

I remember as a young thing the great version of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters. I knew it wasn't a new song at the time as the disk jockeys kept insisting on informing me.

The song was written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach in 1933 for a musical called Roberta. It was first recorded by Gertrude Nielsen with an orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra who was some sort of cousin to a slightly better known person with the same surname.

The version we want, though is LEO REISMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA who recorded it in 1933, but it became a hit in this year.

Leo Reisman

The vocal refrain, as they used to say back then, is by Sally Singer.

♫ Leo Reisman and His Orchestra - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

LUCIENNE BOYER was a French diseuse (I had to put that in, it just means talker, or more poetically, story teller) and singer.

Lucienne Boyer

In this song she's singing, not diseuse-ing (sorry, I'll stop now). It's her most famous recording, Parlez-Moi D'amour or Speak to Me of Love.

♫ Lucienne Boyer - Parlez Moi D'amour [Speak To Me Of Love]

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS had a really good lead singer by the name of Leonard Slye. Old Len is better known to us as Roy Rogers.

Sons Of The Pioneers

Roy joined the Pioneers and had a music career before he went into films. He also sang in those flicks too, of course. Here the pioneers perform one of their biggest hits, Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

♫ Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers - Tumbling Tumbleweeds

INTERESTING STUFF – 10 October 2015


Each month, the online Guardian selects a theme and invites readers from around the world to send their travel photographs depicting that topic.

As serendipity would have it, on Friday I wrote about rediscovering my solitude and in September, the Guardian's photo theme was solitude. Here are a couple of examples, the first photographed by Lee Pengelly, the second by Stanley A. Dellimore:



You can see more of the top solitude entries here along with the first-place winner at the bottom of the scroll. The theme for October is architecture. You'll find the announcement here in case you want to contribute.


Perhaps you recall that in last Saturday's Interesting Stuff I told you about how the State of Alabama is closing most of its DMV offices in areas where 75 percent of voters are people of color. The kicker, of course, is that no one may vote in Alabama without a government-issued identification.

On Tuesday, Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central took a look at that. Here he is:


There is more information about the DMV closings at


Teddy Bear is a pet porcupine. He's cute as a button and he obviously LOVES to eat pumpkin. He even spits out the seeds.


Last Monday, I told you about John Gear's idea to require gun owners to purchase risk insurance – an idea similar to car owners' requirement to have insurance.

Although there is no reference to Gear, on Thursday, a contributor to the CNN website, Jeff Yang, wrote a strong support for such a move.

”Legislation that requires mandatory insurance for gun ownership - liability protection parallel to that required for use and operation of every other dangerous object in our society, from motor vehicles to heavy industrial equipment - is the answer to that need,” he wrote, “giving victims of accident or intentional mayhem compensation for injury (and survivors, for loss of life), as well as a way to cover hospital bills and rehabilitation, and as is too often the case, funeral costs.”

And, as it turns out, Yang lets us know there is already such legislation lounging around in a Congressional committee going nowhere. The Firearm Risk Protection Act (HR 2546) was introduced in May of this year by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY):

”The Firearm Risk Protection Act, unveiled Friday, would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon, and would impose a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have it,” reported The Hill. “Service members and law enforcement officers, however, would be exempt from the requirement.”

The Hill's story drew more than 3,000 comments most, as far as I cared to look, in opposition to the bill – vehemently so and that's putting it mildly. You can read the full text of the bill here and read Congresswoman Maloney's short press release about the bill here.


The TGB Sunday musicologist, Peter Tibbles, sent this along. He found it at Kind of Normal:



Last Week Tonight host John Oliver on HBO looked into the mental health system in the U.S.

Hang on to your sanity because it's depressing information but if you use that as an excuse not to watch, shame on you. This is important. Oliver is in his usual excellent form, and the report should affect your votes for a variety of official positions.


For two years, Juanita the duck lived with a group of elders on the grounds of their senior living home. Now she is forced to live in a wildlife preserve.

Rather than do the explaining myself, here's a news video from KTVU that does a good job of it. As you watch it, keep in mind that it is long-established, evidence-based science that pets help elders in all kinds of good ways:

Did you hear that part about how the elders are welcome to visit Juanita at the wildlife preserve? Riiiight. They are in a care home because they get around so easily and love to drive.


Sleep has become such a difficulty in my old age that I have now spent years researching how it works, what it's for, how to get it. Or, in my case, how to get it when I want it and not vice versa.

This little video does a nice job of condensing a lot of up-to-date sleep knowledge into a short presentation. About halfway through, however, there is mention of “second sleep” (which I have recently stopped fighting and try to enjoy) as a foregone historical fact.

I'm not convinced from my reading that it is proven yet but even if not, it's an important clue to the intricacies of sleep and lack thereof.


From Carly Fiorina in late September quoted at Huffington Post.

"Somebody once asked me, 'What's the difference between business and politics?' And here's the difference: Politics is a fact-free zone. People just say things."

Does this put Ms. Fiorina in the same category as Kevin McCarthy in giving away the supposed secret?


Bev Carney keeps me supplied with the latest Simon the Cat vids.

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Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

One Old Woman's Solitude

A couple of months ago, I stopped publishing this blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During several months prior, I withdrew from a couple of outside organizations I had been working with. And I made a new rule to turn off the computer no later than 4PM daily.

The reason for change to long-held routine is rarely simple – at least, with me – and most often, there is more than one although typically, they are confused or unclear at first.

Soon, I came to see that I had been chasing my tail for many years. For a long time not a day had passed that I did not feel pressured, behind in both necessities and desires as my to-do list regularly grew from a few lines each day to a page and even two pages.

Among three or four dozen Google Alerts, about the same number of email newsletters and RSS feeds and nearly an equal count of bookmarked websites I try to visit at least two or three times a week, I was always in a rush.

When something out of the ordinary arose – good things, mostly, like lunch or dinner with a friend, an afternoon movie, a day trip to the coast, for example – I pushed even harder in the time leading up to it so I would be ahead on the tasks. But that rarely made much difference.

In addition to publishing less frequently and reducing outside activities, I've cut back on the incoming news and information, sort of, by ditching the aggregators since by the time they arrive I've usually seen the originals. That way duplicated effort is down.

Several months into my more relaxed routine now, I have realized that there is a big difference between being 65 and 75. (My 90-year-old friends – you know who you are – will once again assure me, and please do, that I don't know nuthin' yet about getting old until I live through the differences between 75 and 85.)

If I had slowed down by age 65, it was not enough that I noticed. What I know now is that even having lost 40 pounds and being so disgustingly healthy that the only advice my physician has is to keep doing whatever I'm doing, is that I tire more easily now at nearly 75 than I imagined until I reached the point of being overwhelmed (see all of above).

It's not that I need to lie down to rest or to nap. It is more a psychic tiredness. At those times even the little things are too much. Heating a cup of soup for dinner seems an insurmountably difficult chore. Walking garbage out to the trash bin feels beyond the bounds of the possible.

There isn't nearly as much of that now.

What I had been missing is solitude. Quiet time alone to just be. Something I have needed a lot of since childhood but in recent years, even after retiring from the busy workaday world, I had too often forgotten.

For the record, regular meditation is no substitute for solitude – they serve different needs. Another distinction we often do well to make is between being alone and loneliness.

What is not enough noted, however, is that solitude is not the same thing as alone - it is a richer experience, more imaginative and satisfying than simple aloneness, a kind of stillness.

If I am not fooling myself, I made more time for solitude when I was working. I recall that I especially liked long airplane flights then, the six- or 10- or 12-hour ones – back when passengers were not sardined into our seats as now - and there was a sense of suspended animation, a separation from earthly matters and no one could bother you.

In those pre-internet, pre-mobile phone days, I also welcomed nighttime when interruption from others was less likely. Nowadays, having finally stopped fighting the sleep disorder that wakens me as early, sometimes, as 2:30AM or 3AM and most often at 4AM to luxuriate in the early morning darkness and peace, all to myself.

Solitude is suspect to many in the United States. Somewhere, sometime in the past, the novelist Erica Jong rightly described the consensus about it as “un-American." The writer and critic Marya Mannes agreed with Jong pointing out that it is the “great omission in American life” that should instead be understood as the “incubator of the spirit.”

It certainly is becoming so for me again. Solitude is my friend. It creates the space for serious thought and allows me to find out what I really believe neither of which can be done in short interrupted bursts.

My mind is sharper in solitude than in company. It deepens my connection with the present and gives me time to reflect on what living is and life is for. It intensifies my enjoyment of small pleasures.

Solitude, now that I have made room for it, seems uniquely agreeable with old age and leaves me to wonder if maybe it is part of what the late years are for.

Breeding Fear of Growing Old

As far as I can see there is a concerted effort, perhaps even a cabal when I am feeling fanciful, to scare the bejesus out of old people and keep it that way unto our graves.

There is no escaping it – it's everywhere you look: television, movies, books, magazines, internet, billboards and definitely the popular medical literature.

On the one hand, they remind us how wonderful it is that we are living decades longer than at any previous time in history. But that is exactly as far as the good news goes. After that, it is all about inducing terror, anxiety, distress, fear and dread.

You may think they are benign, those advertisements for things that some old people need – walk-in bathtubs, chair lifts for stairs, electric scooters and medical alert devices.

There would be nothing wrong with those adverts except that if you don't count dubious life insurance, they are all that is advertised in the AARP magazine and its ilk which is otherwise filled with stories about toe fungus, incontinence and smelly feet.

With such icky disorders as those, how are elders to go about all that online dating the same media tells us is all the fashion these days.

And it doesn't stop there. Everywhere you turn there are medications for yucky problems connected to every known body part: constipation, hair loss, low testosterone, insomnia, erectile dysfunction along with dry mouth and dry vaginas.

But these are the least of it. In recent years, Alzheimer's and the other dementias are the most popular scare stories. Something like 50 percent of elders, they daily surmise, will wind up in the back room of a care home staring vacantly into space as each body function slowly disintegrates.

Other reports warn that even that minor dignity, someone to change our diapers, may soon not be available for everyone who needs it. (I'm not so sure. Not so sure there will be that many of us in the dementia wards and not so sure there won't be enough caregivers. But we'll tackle that another day.)

Following dementia in the big-deal, diseases-of-age category are, of course, the old favorites that refuse to be cured or even treated with much success: cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson's, etc.

Old people have seen enough of these in family, friends and others to worry about them all by ourselves without the all-too-frequent reminders in the media.

And it doesn't stop with recitations of the diseases and decline. According to stand-up comics and the daily stream of ad hominem jokes in all media, old people are guilty of a range of sins from being ugly to walking or driving too slowly, eating dinner at 4PM, being tech ignorant and, of course, for having all those icky conditions mentioned above.

But humor is an age-old method of facing our fears and Crabby Old Lady* has trouble blaming those comedians and the audiences who laugh at their jokes when they hardly ever see anything except the most distressing portrayals of growing old.

The fact is that the majority of old people make it to their deaths living independently with (and without) afflictions they adapt to and manage while enjoying as great a variety of interests as young people have. Different, maybe. Less athletic in many cases. But just an individual.

The reason hardly anyone knows this is that the cultural fear mongers drown out the real story of growing old, breeding fear and making it harder for everyone, young and old alike, to know what a valuable and worthwhile time of life elderhood is.

* UPDATE: Ha! I originally wrote this in my Crabby Old Lady guise, then changed my mind but obviously missed removing this one Crabby reference. Oh well.

LAGNIAPPE: A Woman's Solution to Gun Violence

On Saturday I asked if readers would be interested In a single “interesting stuff” item on Tuesdays and Thursdays since I no longer write full blog posts on those days and I often have more interesting stuff than there is room for.

One person said no. Two others liked it. Simone suggested calling it “And Another Thing.” S.C. Jones suggested “Lagniappe” which is, as she noted, “Louisiana French for something given as a bonus or extra gift."

After some thought and a particularly wonderful thing I want to show you today, I have decided on a compromise:

When I have something that is especially worth it or is time sensitive, I will post a single item on Tuesday or Thursday. I might go weeks without a special post. Or it might be more frequently depending on when good “stuff” shows up. I'll play it as it lays.

As to title, “And Another Thing” certainly fits who I am. “Lagniappe” is a bit fancy for me but I like it equally; it doesn't hurt that it comes from one of my favorite U.S. cities.

Sometimes choices are made for pragmatic reasons and I am going with Lagniappe because it's short. There you have it and here we go.

* * *

In response to last week's horrific massacre in Roseburg, Oregon, yesterday we spent our time here responding to John Gear's suggestion for a sensible gun control program that just could be workable if anyone in power in the U.S. is serious about controlling gun deaths.

Here is another suggestion that I found Sunday at Digby's blog. She found it here. See what you think.


A Practical Gun Control Solution

Below is a repost from December 2012, right after the Sandy Hook shootings, and at first I hesitated to publish it again. Then I changed my mind.

With yet another god-awful massacre, I think that we in our little community surrounding this blog should have a chance to talk about this uniquely American kind of slaughter. That we elders may have a different kind of take - or not. We'll see today.

This time it happened in my own backyard or, anyway, state. Oregon is deeply divided on gun control. Urban populations mostly take the liberal view of more laws; rural areas like Roseburg where these latest shootings occurred generally reject any attempt to legislate gun ownership.

The proposal below is from another Oregonian, and TGB reader, John Gear. He sent me this that he wrote back in 1999.

John is a second-career attorney in solo practice in Salem, Oregon, who focuses on serving consumers, elders and nonprofits. He wrote this after a young man killed his parents and some classmates in Springfield, Oregon.

After each mass killing since then, he has tried to spread his idea in hope of breaking the stalemate on guns in America caused by absolutists more interested in argument than in reducing carnage.

I know John's essay is kind of lengthy, but it is highly readable and I think you will find the idea to be workable and worthy of wider consideration.

If you do, it would be good for you pass it along far and wide - even your legislators. You can link to it here or at this website.

* * *

We can fix the gun problem. We can make America safer without limiting our right to bear arms. And we can do it without an expensive, dangerous and futile "War on Guns."

To solve the real problem (keeping guns out of the wrong hands without restricting other people), we must use an idea that has worked to limit losses from many other hazards: insurance. That's right, insurance, the system of risk-management contracts that lets people take responsibility for choices they make that impose risks on others.

Insurance is what lets society accommodate technology. Without it, we would have few autos, airplanes, trains, steamships, microwaves, elevators, skyscrapers and little electricity because only the wealthiest could accept the liability involved.

When people are accountable for risks imposed on others, they act more responsibly. Insurance is what enables this accountability.

Rather than trying to limit access to or take guns away from law-abiding adults, we must instead insist that the adult responsible for a gun at any instant (maker, seller or buyer) have enough liability insurance to cover the harm that could result if that adult misuses it or lets it reach the wrong hands.

Who gets the insurance proceeds and for what? The state crime victims' compensation fund, whenever a crime involving guns is committed or a gun mishap occurs. The more victims, the bigger the payout. The greater the damage (from intimidation to multiple murders and permanent crippling), the greater the payout.

The insurers will also pay the fund for other claims such as when a minor commits suicide by gun or accidentally kills a playmate with Daddy's pistol. This will reduce such mishaps.

Insurance is very effective in getting people to adopt safe practices in return for lower premiums.

When a crime involving a gun occurs, the firm who insured it pays the claim. If the gun is not found or is uninsured (and there will still be many of these at first), then every fund will pay a pro-rated share of the damages based on the number of guns they insure. This will motivate insurance firms - and legitimate gun owners - to treat uninsured guns as poison instead of as an unavoidable byproduct of the Second Amendment.

Thus, insurance will unite the interests of all law-abiding citizens, gun owners and others against the real problem with guns: guns in the hands of criminals, the reckless, the untrained and juveniles.

Like other insurance, firearm insurance will be from a private firm or association, not the government. Owners, makers and dealers will likely self-insure forming large associations just as the early "automobilists" did. Any financially-sound group, such as the NRA, can follow state insurance commission rules and create a firearms insurance firm.

That's it. No mass or government registrations. Except for defining the rules, no government involvement at all. Each owner selects his or her insurance firm. By reaffirming the right to responsible gun ownership and driving uninsured guns out of the system, we use a proven, non-prohibitionist strategy for improving public safety.

Each insurance firm will devise a strategy for earning more revenue with fewer claims. Thus gun owners - informed by the actuaries - will choose for ourselves the controls we will tolerate and the corresponding premiums. (Rates will vary according to the gun we want to insure, our expertise and claims history.)

Some will want a cheaper policy that requires trigger locks whenever the gun is not in use; others will not. Hobbyists will find cheaper insurance by keeping their firearms in a safe at the range.

Newer, younger shooters and those who choose weapons that cause more claims will pay higher premiums. That way other owners with more training and claims-free history will pay less. (Insurance companies are expert at evaluating combined risks and dividing them up - in the form of premiums - with exquisite precision.)

Soon, the firms will emphasize cutting claims. That means promoting gun safety and fighting black market gun dealers which is where many criminals get guns. And every legitimate gun owner will have a persuasive reason – lower premiums -- to help in the fight.

We need to start discussing this now because it will take several years to enact. Gun-control advocates will hate this because it forsakes the failed prohibitionist approach. But the evidence is clear: there is virtually no chance that prohibiting guns can work without destroying our civil liberties, and probably not even then.

And the organized gun lobby will hate it too because most of their power comes from having the threat of gun prohibition to point to. But again the evidence is clear: we have the current gun laws - ineffective as they are - because we have neglected a right even more important to Americans than the right to bear arms: the right to be safely unarmed.

Naturally, many gun owners will resent paying premiums because they resent assuming responsibility for risks that, so far, we've dumped on everyone else. So be it. It is only by assuming our responsibilities that we preserve our rights.

Some will note that the Second Amendment doesn't include "well-insured." But just as the press needs insurance against libel suits to exercise the First Amendment, we must assume responsibility for the risks that firearms present to society.

The problem is real, even such prohibitionist strategies are doomed to fail, even if passed. Sadly, some pro-gun groups have already revved up their own mindless propaganda, blaming Springfield on liberals, TV, Dr. Spock, "bad seeds," you name it - anything but the easy access to guns that made massacres like Springfield so quick, so easy and so likely.

This won't work instantly but it will work because it breaks the deadlock about guns and how to keep them away from people who shouldn't have them without stomping on the rights of the rest of us. Thus it changes the dynamics of this issue and ends the lethal deadlock over guns.

It's time for everyone, people seeking safety from guns and law-abiding gun owners alike, to work together to fight firearms in the wrong hands, and it's time to fight with FIRE: Firearm Insurance, Required Everywhere.